Why do you have a cough after running?

If you have a persistent cough after running, especially from a cold, you may have a common condition called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.

So you just had a good outdoor career. You’ve pushed yourself to the end and now you’re feeling this amazing “high” post-run, fueled by your body’s endorphins. But now you just want to cough? There is nothing worse!

Before you start worrying that your cough attack may be a symptom of COVID-19, know this: your cough after running is probably just a symptom of a common condition called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB).

This condition occurs most often when exercised outdoors in cold, dry air. It causes the airways of the lungs to narrow for a brief moment.

It is similar to what happens to people with asthma. This is why the EIB is also known as “exercise-induced asthma”. The difference is that asthma attacks can be triggered by inhaling things like smoke, pollen and mold, among others, while EIB only occurs after exercise.

How do you know if your cough after running is due to the EIB?

The EIB’s most common symptoms include coughing (obviously), wheezing, shortness of breath, and even chest tightness. These symptoms are usually mild to moderate, causing more discomfort than anything else serious. However, your EIB can also be serious, especially if you already have asthma.

How long does the EIB last after exercise?

EIB can occur after just 10-15 minutes of running, but any exercise that increases heart rate (HR) can trigger it, especially if done outdoors in the cold.

The good news is that the EIB is clearing inside 60 minutes, however, it can be prolonged if you already suffer from asthma.

How to stop coughing after running

If you have asthma and exercise causes EIB, you should consult your GP who will probably prescribe an inhaler to help you cope with the symptoms.

But a an easy way to reduce the EIB is to warm up for 10 to 15 minutes in order to increase the core temperature and get used to the cold air. Your warm-up can be anything, from a simple brisk walk before you start the race. Doing so will also help warm up synovial fluid in your joints to help prevent further injuries and improve performance when running.

Another way to stop coughing after running is to wear a face mask that can help warm the air and moisturize it before inhaling it. (Look at these comfortable facial masks to exercise with MyProtein.)

Don’t forget it inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. The hairs on the nose act as a natural air filter, allowing fresh oxygen to enter the body while maintaining a large amount of dust and toxins. Nose hairs also moisturize the air you breathe, preventing the respiratory system from drying out and irrigating.

This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on November 5, 2020

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